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Lundy's pamphlet on "The War in Texas" is not only the best account, up to that time, of the Texas conspiracy, but closes with the remarkable prediction of the Southern Confederacy, which established itself twenty-five years later: "Our countrymen, in fighting for the union of Texas with the United States, will be fighting for that which at no distant period will inevitably dissolve the Union. The slave States, having the eligible addition to their land of bondage, will ere long cut asunder the Federal tie, and confederate a new and distinct slavehotding republic, in opposition to the whole free republic of the North. Thus early will be fulfilled the prediction of the old politicians of Europe, that our Union could not remain one century entire; and then also will the maxim be exemplified in our history, that liberty and slavery can not long inhabit the same soil." Lundy died, as he had lived, in the firm belief that American slavery would be abolished before 1900, and he contributed more to that result than many—perhaps than any —of his contemporaries.
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The War in Texas
A Review of Facts and Circumstances
The War in Texas B. Lundy
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
THE WAR IN TEXAS.2
IN preparing a second edition of this work, I have been actuated by the same motive that prompted me, when I first gave an exposition of the true causes of the “Texas Insurrection.” The grand deception, practised by Slaveholders and Land-Speculators, still operates upon thousands of honest minds, although the eyes of many have been opened by the publication of facts, &c., relative to the subject.
The first edition of the pamphlet having been soon exhausted, while the demand for it was increasing,—and as the subject upon which it treats is one of the most important that now engages the attention of the citizens of the United States,—I have considered that even a further exposition is called for. With this view, the present edition, revised and much enlarged, is offered to the public. The additions which have been made, will be found highly corroborative of the original statements, generally.
That the work, as now presented to the reader, may have a tendency to throw more light upon the question involving considerations of such momentous import, and induce the honest portion of our citizens to give the subject their immediate attention, in such manner as they may deem consistent with their country's honor and the immutable principles of justice, is the only desire of
IT is generally admitted that the war in Texas has assumed a character which must seriously affect both the interests and the honor of this nation. It implicates the conduct of a large number of our citizens, and even the policy and measures of the government are deeply involved in it. The subject, as now presented to our view, is indeed one of vital importance to the people of the United States; and it particularly invites the attention—the most solemn and deliberate consideration—of all who profess to be guided by the true principles of justice and philanthropy. It is not only to be viewed as a matter of interest, at the present day. The great fundamental principles of universal liberty—the perpetuity of our free republican institutions—the prosperity, the welfare, and the happiness of future generations—are measurably connected with the prospective issue of this fierce and bloody conflict.
But the prime cause and the real objects of this war, are not distinctly understood by a large portion of the honest, disinterested, and well-meaning citizens of the United States. Their means of obtaining correct information upon the subject have been necessarily limited; and many of them have been deceived and misled by the misrepresentations of those concerned in it, and especially by hireling writers for the newspaper press. They have been induced to believe that the inhabitants of Texas were engaged in a legitimate contest for the maintenance of the sacred principles of Liberty, and the natural, inalienable Rights of Man:—whereas, the motives of its instigators, and their chief incentives to action, have been, from the commencement, of a directly opposite character and tendency. It is susceptible of the clearest demonstration, that the immediate cause and the leading object of this contest originated in a settled design, among the slaveholders of this country, (with land speculators and slave-traders,) to wrest the large and valuable territory of Texas from the Mexican Republic, in order to re-establish the SYSTEM OF SLAVERY; to open a vast and profitable SLAVE-MARKET therein; and, ultimately, to annex it to the United States. And further, it is evident—nay, it is very generally acknowledged—that the insurrectionists are principally citizens of the United States, who have proceeded thither, for the purpose of revolutionizing the country; and that they are dependent upon this nation, for both the physical and pecuniary means, to carry the design into effect. We have a still more important view of the subject. The Slaveholding Interest is now paramount in the Executive branch of our national government; and its influence operates, indirectly, yet powerfully, through that medium, in favor of this Grand Scheme of Oppression and Tyrannical Usurpation. Whether the national Legislature will join hands with the Executive, and lend its aid to this most unwarrantable, aggressive attempt, will depend on the VOICE OF THE PEOPLE, expressed in their primary assemblies, by their petitions, and through the ballot-boxes.
The writer of this has long viewed, with intense anxiety, the clandestine operations of this unhallowed scheme, and frequently warned the public of the danger to be apprehended, in case of its success. He has carefully noted the preparatory arrangements for its consummation—the combination of influence—the concentration of physical power—the organization of various means—and, finally, the undissembled prosecution of it, by overt acts of violence and bloodshed:—and he now stands pledged to prove, by the exhibition of well attested facts and documentary evidence, that the original cause, the principal object, and the nature of the contest, are what he has, above, represented them to be.
To give a correct detail of the plan of operations, adopted by the instigators and fomenters of this Texian war, as well as an exposition of the character and identity of those who have been the active instruments of carrying it into execution, I will commence with a brief historical narration of the settlement of the country by the Anglo-Americans. Their proceedings, in connexion with others, relative to the subject before us, will be duly noticed in the course of my remarks. In the performance of this duty, I shall make use of facts and illustrations, drawn from personal observation, and from numerous documents in my possession.
In reviewing the history of colonization in Texas by the Anglo-Americans, it will appear that the first regular plan adopted, was the privilege granted to Moses Austin, of Missouri, by the Spanish authorities, in the year 1820. Previous to that date, a few persons from the United States had temporarily established themselves in the eastern part of the Province, as Indian traders and unauthorized adventurers. A large tract of country was marked out on the map, and Austin was invested with the privilege of introducing three hundred families of industrious, orderly settlers, professing the Catholic religion, within a given time,—When he had obtained this grant, or privilege, he returned to Missouri, and proceeded to make the necessary preparations for carrying his colonial enterprise into effect. Before completing his arrangements, however, Moses Austin suddenly died,—and his son, Stephen F. Austin, took the business in his hands, as the legal heir and representative of his father. He soon repaired to Texas, with a considerable number of settlers, the most of whom emigrated from the states of Tennessee, Missouri, and Louisiana. But prior to his obtaining legal possession, or effecting the settlement of the families who accompanied him, the revolution occurred, which annulled the authority of the government, and resulted in the separation of all the Mexican Provinces from the Spanish Crown. The circumstances here referred to, rendered it necessary for Austin to apply to the new Government for a confirmation of his father's grant. This was obtained with little difficulty, in a modified form, and both the contractor and settlers were liberally supplied with lands, gratis, on the condition of occupying them and pledging themselves to be obedient to the laws of the country: yet the settlement of the colony was still restricted and confined to persons of the Catholic persuasion.
During the brief reign of the Emperor Iturbide, and the succeeding administrations of the Federal Government, Austin proceeded with the settlement of his colony, under the same regulations as before, and procured an extension of privilege to introduce settlers in other parts of Texas. Laws were enacted by the Federal Government, regulating the terms and plans of colonization;—and when the Provinces of Coahuila & Texas were united under a State Government, special regulations were made, by the legislature, in conformity with those of the general Congress, all of which were submitted to by the colonists, and binding on them. The settlements rapidly progressed, (the terms being extremely liberal,) and Austin succeeded in fulfilling his contracts with the government, relative to the introduction of the number of settlers for which he had stipulated—receiving the fee simple of large tracts of land as a reward for his trouble.
The spirit of enterprise, adventure, and speculation was now aroused; and divers other persons obtained grants, (the privilege of introducing settlers,) with the view of colonizing the remaining vacant lands in Texas. The most prominent “empresarios” (contractors) were Zavala and Filasola, of Mexico; De Witt, of Missouri; Ross and Leftwitch, of Tennessee; Milam, of Kentucky; Burnet, of Ohio; Thorn; of New York; Wavel and Beales, of England; Cameron, of Scotland; Vehlein, of Germany; M'Mullin, Powers, and Hewitson, of Ireland. All these entered into contracts with the government upon the same principles that Austin had done. None of them, however, have succeeded in fulfilling their contracts, except De Witt, and Powers and Hewitson. Some of the others have introduced a part of their settlers; but the most have disposed of their “grants” to joint stock companies, organized for the purpose, in New York and Nashville. These companies are extensively engaged in speculating with said “stock,” (and “scrip,” which they pass off as preparatory titles to land,) among the credulous, the ignorant, and the unsuspecting, wherever they can find such willing to purchase. In no age or nation, perhaps, have unauthorized and illegal speculations in lands been carried to such extremes as in Texas, within the period of a few years past. The swindling operations in the Yazoo land speculations of Mississippi, were mere child's play in comparison. The government has thus been defrauded, and its liberal munificence abused, by the overweening and reckless spirit of avaricious adventurers. As I have before said, the terms offered by the government to bona fide settlers, were of the most liberal nature throughout. They were not only authorized to select large quantities of land, and hold the same, in fee simple, on condition of settlement,—but they were also permitted to introduce all articles necessary for their own accommodation, for the space of ten years, free of the customary duties paid by citizens of the Republic.—This, indeed, opened a wide door for smuggling goods into the country, to supply the Indian traders, as well as the native inhabitants. The colonists did not fail to improve the opportunity; and many foreigners took lands, professedly with the view of settlement, and engaged extensively in this illicit traffic. Contraband articles—such as arms, ammunition, &c. for the savage tribes—were also introduced in great quantities whenever the vigilance of the government revenue officers could be eluded. Slaves were likewise taken in and held, in violation of the constitution and laws of the State and the decrees of the General Government.
In this state of things, propositions were made by the government of the United States to that of Mexico, for the purchase of the Texas country, with the view of incorporating it into this Union. The overture was instantly rejected by the Mexican authorities, as they neither possessed the inclination nor the constitutional power to alienate any portion of the territory of the Republic. Many of the newspapers in the United States now teemed with essays and remarks, tending to urge the acquisition of Texas by any practicable means; and the agent of the government was charged with intriguing for the purpose at the Mexican Capital. The idea was also held out by the colonists, that the laws prohibiting the introduction of slaves could be easily evaded, and that they would soon be strong enough to declare and enforce the perpetuation of slavery (although it was abolished by the general and state governments) in that part of the country.—The emigration from the slaveholding States to Texas was thus accelerated, in the hope of eventually accomplishing this object. In order to counteract these efforts, the operations of the colonization system were suspended by law in the year 1830. A few troops were then sent to Texas, in addition to a small number previously stationed there, to prevent the illicit and contraband trade, the introduction of slaves, and to enforce obedience to the laws generally; but their number was insufficient for the purpose; and the regulations of the government were daringly and continually violated with impunity.
The native inhabitants of Mexico are, almost to a man, opposed to slavery.—The system has been totally abolished in every section of the Republic, except in Texas. There it has been prospectively extinguished, as in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and some of the other states of this Union. But, to explain more particularly the manner in which this was effected—the Constitution of the Mexican Republic, adopted in 1824, expressly provided that no person should thereafter, be born a slave, or introduced as such in the Mexican states; that all slaves, then held, should receive stipulated wages, and be subject to no punishment but upon trial and judgment by magistrates. The Constitution of Coahuila & Texas, promulgated on the 11th of March, 1827, also contains this important article:—
“13. In this state no person shall be born a slave after this Constitution is published in the capital of each district, and six months thereafter, neither will the introduction of slaves be permitted under any pretext.”
On the 15th of September, 1829—the Anniversary of Mexican Independence—President Guerrero, in conformity to an article in the Federal Constitution empowering him to that effect, issued a decree totally and immediately abolishing slavery throughout the Republic. A change in the administration of the government took place soon after, and representations were made to the general Congress, setting forth that many of the slaves, introduced by the Texas colonists, were so extremely ignorant as to unfit them for freedom; and a dispensation of the aforesaid decree was granted, so far only as related to Texas. The former system was, of course, revived in that particular section of the country, and the slaves introduced previous to the year 1824, are still legally held as apprentices. The colonists then adopted the plan of taking in slaves under formal indentures, for long periods, (in some cases for ninety-nine years,) in order to evade the law. The State Legislature passed a law, as soon as these facts were made known to it, requiring the registration of all slaves that had been legally imported, and declaring that no indenture should, in any case whatever, be obligatory upon others for a longer period than ten years. It was also provided, by law, that all children of persons, thus in the condition of apprentices, should be free from the control of those who held their parents, at the age of fourteen years, and be placed by the municipal authorities under the care of suitable persons, to learn some useful trade or industrious occupation, and receive a portion of common school education.
About the beginning of the year 1832, a revolution commenced in the administration of the general government of Mexico. In the course of the ensuing summer, it was consummated so far as the state of Coahuila & Texas was immediately interested, and the government troops were all compelled to leave the colonies. The foreign settlers and traders united with the party opposed to the administration, in this case; and when the troops were expelled, the custom houses were all closed in that portion of Texas which was principally inhabited by foreigners. Nothing was then in their way, to hinder them from evading every law which they chose to disregard, and many of them expressed their determination to suffer no more government troops to be stationed there in future, it they should be enabled to prevent it, under any Mexican administration. For some length of time thereafter, the political affairs of the Republic were somewhat unsettled, and the colonists in Texas were permitted to pursue their own course, subject only to the civil authority of the State. This they heeded no further than it suited their whims or their interests; and the laws, forbidding the introduction of slaves, the trade with the Indians in arms, &c., and the swindling speculations in land, were considered by them as mere blank leaves in the statute book.
Among the settlers in the colonies, at this period, were some ambitious aspirants from the United States of the North, who having lost the confidence of the people in their own country, here sought a new theatre where they might press their claims to public favor and political distinction. These, with the large slave-holders, land-speculators, &c., were clamorous for the speedy adoption of measures to form a State government for Texas. The population of that particular section of the country was far less numerous than in Coahuila;—and, consequently, their influence in the state legislation, and means of obtaining lucrative offices, were very limited. All hopes of a voluntary cession of Texas to the United States by the Mexican government, were now at an end. Therefore, unless the measure of establishing an independent State, separate from any district containing a large native population could be carried into effect, their views of political aggrandizement would be thwarted, and it would also be impossible to carry out their schemes of slaveholding, &c., when the government should determine to enforce obedience to the laws. The idea was entertained, that an “independent State,” under the confederated system, might stand upon its “sovereignty” and nullify the decrees of the general government, to suit its purposes. This doctrine was promulgated throughout the Texas country, and embraced by a considerable portion (perhaps a majority) of the colonists, who were mostly from our slaveholding States, and easily induced to believe that their pecuniary interests would be eventually promoted by the change, as proposed. Many of the substantial settlers, however, were opposed to the measure at the time. The most of those who had taken lands, and honestly engaged in improving them, evinced no desire for its speedy adoption, as the burthen of supporting a State government must fall with its heaviest weight on them; and being, generally, persons in middling or low circumstances, and having but recently established themselves in business there, they would be scarcely able to bear it. The office-seekers were principally men of little or no capital; engaged in no business enterprises; would be subject to slight taxation, if any; and of course, they had nothing to lose, but every thing to gain, from the success of the proposed measure. And by their clamorous efforts, with the aid of the speculators and extensive slave proprietors, they succeeded at length in calling a Convention, to draft a State Constitution for Texas, in the early part of the year 1833.
The course to be pursued in the establishment of new States, either in the Territories of the Republic or by divisions of existing States, was clearly defined by the laws of the Federal Government. Certain formalities were prescribed, which required more time than was consistent with the anxious haste of the office-hunters, &c. in Texas. The Convention aforesaid assembled without having been legally authorized to enter upon the performance of the duties which it assumed. A draught of a Constitution was prepared by that body, and Stephen F. Austin was deputed as the bearer of it to the capital of the Republic, to apply for its ratification by the general Congress. Although the then existing Constitution of Coahuila & Texas contained an express prohibition of slavery, as before mentioned, the subject was not even adverted to in this one proposed for Texas. For this and other reasons, the application of Austin, as agent for the Convention, was promptly rejected. To obviate the objections that were anticipated on the score of informality in the proceedings, the Convention had instructed its agent to put in the special plea that other States had previously been admitted into the confederacy, without complying with all the formalities required by the Federal laws. But whatever might have been the inducement to dispense with the prescribed rules in other cases, the general Congress did not see fit, in this instance, to deviate therefrom; or else the other causes of objection to the Texas Constitution, were considered of themselves sufficient for the rejection of the application.
On learning the fate of their proposition, the clamors and complaints of the movement party in Texas, were loud and general. To preserve his popularity with that party, Austin was said to have acted very insolently towards the Federal authorities. A little difficulty, at least, occurred between them; which, however, was soon adjusted. But finding that he could not then obtain the sanction of Congress, to the measure of establishing a State Government for Texas, separate from Coahuila, he wrote to the Ayuntamiento (Council) of the municipality of San Antonio de Bexar, recommending an immediate organization, for the purpose. It is also believed that he recommended the same thing to the other municipalities in Texas. A majority of the Ayuntamiento of Bexar were native Mexicans; and they were indisposed to second the rash proposition of Austin and the reckless proceedings of some of the other colonists. Instead thereof, that body passed resolutions severely censuring this act of Austin, and sent an official statement of the whole proceedings to the Governor of Coahuila & Texas. He immediately communicated the same to the Federal Executive, and orders were issued for Austin's apprehension. The latter had been informed of the measures adopted by the Ayuntamiento of San Antonio de Bexar, and quitted the capital before the Executive had received the documents. A force was instantly despatched in pursuit of him, and he was overtaken at Saltillo, having merely crossed the boundary line and entered the State of Coahuila & Texas. He was forthwith remanded to the seat of government, and committed to prison, to await his trial upon a charge of treasonable conspiracy, or insubordination to the laws of the Republic.
While his case was pending, and he was thus in a state of confinement, Austin wrote to the leading politicians in Texas, advising them to desist from the further prosecution of agitating measures, and then recommended strict obedience to the laws of the country. Many severe denunciations were uttered by them, both against the government and Austin himself—against the former for its resolute proceedings in thwarting their insatiate ambitious designs; and against the latter, for his illdigested and unfortunate measures. But not feeling themselves yet strong enough to cope with the disposable force of the nation, (the native inhabitants, even in Texas, were almost unanimously opposed to their disorganizing schemes,) they endeavored to suppress their feelings as much as possible, and the tranquillity of the country remained undisturbed. The trial of Austin was protracted, and he continued in durance a period of nearly two years.
Some excitement was produced among the Mexicans by the aforementioned turbulent proceedings of the Texas colonists: but as the latter did not at this period appear disposed to push their measures to further extremes, the excitement at length died away, and friendly feelings towards the foreigners were again entertained by the natives generally. The law enacted by the general Congress, in 1830, prohibiting the migration of citizens of the United States to Texas, was repealed in 1833; and the colonists were again admitted, upon the same liberal terms as before. The Legislature of the State of Coahuila & Texas established the trial by jury; and it also enacted that no persons in the State should be molested on account of their religious profession, be it what it might. The adjoining State of Tamaulipas, likewise guaranteed the freedom of religious opinion by law; and the popular newspaper press, throughout the republic, zealously advocated a change in the Federal Constitution, by which the free exercise of public worship, by all denominations of Christian professors, should be permanently secured.
But the spirit of “nullification” had found its way into the Mexican confederacy. It pervaded several of the “sovereign, independent States;” and occasional attempts at insurrection in various places, were the consequence. This still prevented the Federal government from taking efficient measures to enforce the laws in Texas; and the introduction of slaves, the unauthorized speculating in lands, and every species of smuggling and contraband trading went on as before mentioned. It was currently reported and generally believed, that even some of the individuals at the head of the State government of Coahuila & Texas were deeply engaged in these illegal land speculations—and that immense tracts had been disposed of by them in contravention of the Federal regulations. At length the executive authorities of the republic determined to send a few troops into the Texas country, to reestablish the custom-houses, and check the various abuses and violations of law, which had long been and were still so glaringly apparent. At this juncture, also, the Mexicans having become wearied with the disorders arising from the principles of nullification, which had taken deep root in their confederated system, a proposition was submitted for their consideration, to change their form of government to that of a consolidated Republic. Austin was finally liberated, through the clemency of the Federal authorities, and he again left the capital—having pledged himself, it was stated, to use his influence in preserving the political tranquillity of Texas.
In their determination to resist the constituted authorities of the Mexican Republic, the Texas colonists calculated largely on receiving aid from the United States of the North. From the commencement of their settlement in that Province, we must bear in mind, the most of them anticipated its eventual separation from the government of Mexico, and attachment to the Northern Union. This was early resolved on by them, unless indeed other measures could be adopted for the perpetuation of slavery. A full and complete understanding existed between them and the advocates of the system in this country and elsewhere. A very active and extensive private correspondence was kept up for this purpose. Their plans were all deeply laid; and the rejection, by the Mexican government of the proposition to cede the territory in question to the United States, had no other effect than temporarily to frustrate their operations and occasion a modification of their arrangements. A vast combination was then entered into (though not formally organized) the ramifications of which may be traced through a great portion of the United States, and some of the British colonies, as well as the Anglo-American settlements in nearly all the north-eastern parts of Mexico. Its immediate object now is the establishment of an “Independent” government in Texas, to promote its grand ulterior designs.
As I have said before, the great land-speculators, in New York and elsewhere, (consisting of individuals and companies) have covered with their “grants” almost the whole area of the unsettled parts of Coahuila & Texas, and of the Territory of Santa Fe. These “grants” will nearly all soon be forfeited, as it will be impossible to introduce a sufficient number of settlers in season to comply with the terms upon which they were issued by the government. A recent act of the State Legislature prohibits the renewal of them in Coahuila & Texas; and no hope is entertained that the general Congress will further tolerate such unlimited schemes of swindling speculation, as they have heretofore facilitated.—The most strenuous exertions are therefore made to throw a population into Texas, that will favor the views of these cormorant speculators; and lands are freely offered as an inducement for the enterprising and daring to emigrate from the United States and other countries. Many such have accepted the invitation, and in numerous instances have taken lands to which they can have no rightful claim whatever, and hold the same in violation of the laws.
In case the Independence of Texas shall be established, all grants and claims, as aforesaid, are legalized, (particularly if the claimants take an active part in the revolution;) the system of slavery is to be re-established upon a firm Constitutional basis; and every facility will be given to the introduction of slaves from the United States, Cuba, and Africa. This, it is confidently believed, will afford great opportunities to build up princely fortunes in the Texian Empire, by the sale of land, the extended traffic in slaves, &c.
It was not considered sound policy, to declare the Texas country entirely independent of Mexico, while the hope of continuing the Federal form of government existed. The colonists still felt themselves too weak to compete with the power of the republic; and it was doubtful whether the auxiliary force from the United States, which they expected to cooperate with them, would be sufficient to ensure success. Besides, they were somewhat divided in opinion among themselves as to the measures that should be adopted, and the men who should be intrusted with the authority to direct the operations of the scheme. The most of those who marshalled as political and military leaders, were upstarts in whom they had little confidence—some of them broken down politicians and mere adventurers from the United States—persons, in fact, of very doubtful character and capacity. When the change in the form of government was proposed, therefore, they declared for the Constitution of 1824, hoping that the native citizens of the State of Coahuila & Texas, as well as those of several contiguous States, would unite with them. This would give them time at least, if successful, to acquire more numerical strength to carry out their main design at a future period. But in the result of these calculations, they were totally disappointed. When it was ascertained that a large majority of the states readily sanctioned the proposition to alter the Constitution, and that every one, except Coahuila & Texas, finally acquiesced, without attempting forcible resistance, the native inhabitants of this State also gave in their adhesion, or refused to join the colonists in an insurrection.
Previous to the arrival of Austin in Texas, a small number of troops reached its southern borders under General Cos. The government had not contemplated an open resistance on the part of the colonists to the re-establishment of the custom-houses, the enforcement of the laws, &c., and did not send an adequate number to compel their obedience. But, true to their long-settled determination, they proceeded to arrest the march of the Mexican troops into that part of the country. Austin had visited New Orleans on his way home. There the future plans of operation were concocted. He was accompanied to Texas by some daring adventurers. An army was immediately organized. Mexican revenue cutters were seized, under the charge of pirating upon the commerce of the United States in the Gulf of Mexico. The troops under General Cos were driven into the fort at San Antonio de Bexar. Expeditions were fitted out in various parts of the United States, and auxiliary forces proceeded to the assistance of the colonists, under the guise of emigrant settlers. An agent of the Texas land-speculators in New York was stationed at New Orleans, for the express purpose of forwarding these “emigrants,” &c. Austin took the command of the colonial army, but he soon thereafter relinquished the office, leaving the Mexican troops besieged at San Antonio. He never was popular with the turbulent spirits in Texas; and they now got him out of their way by giving him the appointment of commissioner to procure further aid, both physical and pecuniary, from the United States.
It was then “neck or nothing” with the speculators and advocates of slavery. They could not even stand upon the basis of “State sovereignty,” as a great majority of the citizens of Cohauila & Texas itself had agreed, tacitly at least, to the new order of things. A fractional part only, and that almost entirely composed of foreigners, were disposed to resist, for any considerable length of time, the decree of the general Congress. A meeting of some of the colonists and adventurers was held, and the incipient steps were taken to proclaim the independence and sovereignty of Texas. It was proposed, in describing the limits, to leave the western boundary undefined, in order that the contemplated new republic might embrace as much of the Mexican territory as could be conquered. The intention of the revolutionists is, to comprehend within its limits a vast extent of country west of Texas proper, viz. parts of Coahuila and the former states of Tamaulipas and Chihuahua, as well as most of the territory of Santa Fe. The “grants” to which I have heretofore alluded cover nearly the total surface of this extensive region, with the exception of those portions of Tamaulipas and Chihuahua, which they have in view. In fact, their object is to extend the bounds of the Texian Empire to the Rio Bravo del Norte, at least as high up as its great bend, where it passes through the eastern chain of the Rocky Mountains.
I will now proceed to a brief review of the “Declaration of Independence,” recently issued by the Texas colonists.—But I will preface my remarks upon this particular subject, with a statement of the population of Coahuila & Texas, as far as it was correctly ascertained in the year 1832–33, immediately previous to the proposed establishment of an “Independent State” in Texas, under the Mexican Constitution of 1824. This statement is taken from official documents. The municipalities, or districts, named, comprise the population of cities or towns, with the inhabitants contiguous thereto, viz.:
Municipalities. No. of inhabitants. Leona Vicario, (formerly Saltillo,) 24,087 Vallalonquin, 3,499 Capellania, 3,576 Parras, 11,941 Visca of Bustamenta, 5,189 Monclova, 5,021 San Francisco and San Miguel de Aguays, 1,005 San Buenaventura, 4,212 Nadadores, 1,984 Cienegas, 1,631 Abasole, 1,237 Candela, 2,491 Santa Rosa, 2,334 Guerrero, 1,015 Rosas, 2,122 Nava, 569 Gigedo, 863 Morelos, 616 Allende, 678 Bexar, 1,677 Goliad, 1,439 Austin, 6,186 Nacogdoches, 834 Gonzales, (De Witt's colony,) 466 Total, 84,672Of these municipalities, the five last named, only, are in what was originally called the Province of Texas. The population of that of Austin, as well as Gonzales, is wholly composed of foreigners. Those of Nacogdoches, and Goliad, contain a large number of native inhabitants. In that of Bexar there are very few foreigners. The others, likewise, contain none of consequence. But although a correct census of the whole population of Texas had not been taken, and of course the exact number was not officially ascertained, an estimate was made by an agent of the general government, commissioned for the purpose, at the period alluded to. He visited the different settlements, and obtained his information from the most intelligent colonists themselves. According to his calculation, the whole then amounted to 21,000. If we deduct the number of native inhabitants in Bexar, Goliad, and Nacogdoches, (say 3,000,) from this estimate, it will appear that the colonists and other foreigners in Texas, at that time, numbered about 18,000. This, it is presumed, included persons of all colors, and in all conditions, except the uncivilized Indians. We will, however, suppose that the number of foreigners themselves amounted to 20,000. The whole population of the State would thus be about 97,000. It will therefore appear, that the number of the colonists was less than one-fourth of the population: and even of that proportion a moiety, perhaps, had not taken measures to acquire legal title to citizenship. From this view of the state of things it is evident, that if the colonists could not exercise as much influence in the legislation of the State as they wished, there was a reason for it. They had their proportion of representatives in the popular branch of government, and all were governed by the same general laws. If they had sufficient cause of complaint, their views, their objects, and their supposed interests, must have been very different from those of the native inhabitants of the country, to whose government they had voluntarily pledged their allegiance. But I have before stated what their views and objects were, and shall at present merely request the reader to bear the same in mind.
In pointing out some of the gross errors, or the unwarrantable assumptions, in the Declaration of Independence lately promulgated by the colonists, I will endeavor to use as much brevity as the case will permit. Passing over their preamble, our attention is directed to an enumeration of sundry grievances, the first of which is stated as follows:—
“The Mexican government, by its colonization laws, invited and induced the Anglo-American population to colonize its wilderness, under the pledged faith of a written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican government to which they had been habituated in the land of their birth, the United States of America. In this expectation they had been cruelly disappointed—as the Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes made in the government by Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna;—who having overturned the constitution of this country, now offers us the cruel alternative, either to abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood.”
Here the idea is inculcated, that the Mexican nation solemnly pledged itself to guarantee to the colonists the same form of government that they had been accustomed to in the United States. It is true, that in organizing their government, the Mexicans adopted a plan very similar to our own. But the terms upon which they invited and permitted the settlement of foreigners were, that they must be subject to the regulations which the constituted authorities should from time to time see fit to make.
The business of colonizing commenced under the authority of the Spanish Monarchy; it was continued under the Imperial form of government, previous to the establishment of the Federal system; and every change was sanctioned by the colonists, and the declaration of their allegiance renewed, until they conceived the plan and purpose of asserting their “Independence.” Their charge against the President, of usurping authority and establishing a military despotism, is not borne out by facts. The change in the form of government was made by the representatives of the people, not by the Executive. The Constitutional Republic still exists; and we have no evidence, that, in this respect, the President exercises any authority save that with which he is invested by the laws.
They proceed to say:—
“It has sacrificed our welfare to the State of Coahuila, by which our interests have been continually depressed through a jealous and partial course of legislation, carried on at a far distant seat of government by a hostile majority in an unknown tongue; and this too, notwithstanding we have petitioned in the humblest terms for the establishment of a separate State government, and have in accordance with the provisions of the national constitution, presented to the general Congress a republican constitution, which was without just cause contemptuously rejected.”
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